We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. Click here to find out more. Allow cookies

arrow Register here

Forgotten password?

Full Circle

Day 226: Tijuana, Baja California

Michael Palin - Full CircleThe Tortilla Curtain runs right out into the Pacific. Down at the beach sunbathers lie beside its rusting graffitied sections. 'Welcome to the New Berlin Wall', Morta a los Migras (Death to Immigration Officers). There is quite a contrast on the two sides of the fence. The last few yards of Mexico are tatty, lively and busy. The first few yards of the USA are tidy, clean, laid with public picnic tables, and empty.

There is an obelisk on the hill overlooking the Pacific which has been here long before the fence. It marks the fact that this border was drawn in 1848 when, by the treaty of Guadeloupe, the Mexican General, Santa Ana, sold California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico to the United States.

From a whitewashed church a bell tolls for six o'clock mass as we head back from the beach to our hotel. Tijuana has always been the victim. The cheap and cheerful haven where Americans could come and spend their money with no questions asked. But it is nowhere near as awful as I had been led to believe and there are odd, mischievous, very Mexican touches, which still defy the international blandness which seeps down north of the border.

One of these is a house in the shape of a thirty-foot naked lady. She stands, white-plastered and voluptuous on an otherwise drab and litter-strewn hillside. Her left arm across her chest, right arm raised in a parody of the Statue of Liberty. She was built by an artist in the likeness of his much-adored wife. Now they've split up and the artist is living there with his new partner. Apparently, she's not at all happy living in the body of his first wife.

As we film this unique accommodation a hand appears from between the breasts and waves at us.
Choose another day from Full Circle


  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 226
  • Country/sea: Mexico
  • Place: Tijuana
  • Book page no: 293

Bookmarks will keep your place in one or more series. But you'll need to register and/or log in.